Setback for Bolsonaro after voting change sought by him defeated in Congress

WION Web Team
Brasilia, Brazil Published: Aug 06, 2021, 07:29 AM(IST)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The 34-member committee voted 23 to 11 to shelve the amendment that Bolsonaro had advocated for weeks, claiming the country's electronic voting system is open to fraud

President Jair Bolsonaro suffered a setback after a Brazilian congressional committee voted against a constitutional amendment to adopt printed ballots.

The 34-member committee voted 23 to 11 to shelve the amendment that Bolsonaro had advocated for weeks, claiming the country's electronic voting system is open to fraud.

"Bolsonaro has threatened the elections because he has already lost. He wants to perpetuate himself in power. He needs to be contained," Congressman Ivan Valente of Socialism and Liberty Party told the commission.

Bolsonaro has for years been arguing for a paper printout to be made of each vote cast, saying the absence of a paper trail makes cheating easier.

He threw fuel on the fire surrounding his claims with a Facebook live address last Thursday in which he spent the better part of two hours insisting the 2014 and 2018 elections were fraudulent.

He says his own victory in 2018 should have come in the first round, rather than the runoff, though he has never presented evidence to back up the claim.

Previously, Bolsonaro raged against a Supreme Court investigation into his conduct and threatened to respond outside the limits of the constitution, escalating a clash between the far-right leader and the judiciary.

Bolsonaro's comments came after Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes approved an investigation into the president's unfounded accusations that Brazil's electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud.

The president called for people to take to the streets to defend his proposal and accused members of the top court of wanting to help Lula's Workers Party return to power.

On Sunday, thousands of Brazilians took to the streets in several cities to support Bolsonaro's campaign against electronic voting.

Opinion polls place the 66-year-old leader well behind leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the presidential race.

Bolsonaro's popularity numbers have been sliding, and he is under fire on various fronts, including a Senate investigation into his government's widely criticised handling of Covid-19.

There are fears Bolsonaro could try to use fraud claims to undermine next year's election if he loses, following in the footsteps of former US President Donald Trump, with whom he is often compared.

(With inputs from agencies)

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